Former U.S. attorneys for Arizona weigh in on President Trump firing James Comey

Posted at 10:56 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 16:08:31-04

The announcement by the White House that President Trump fired FBI director James Comey Tuesday sent shockwaves through Washington, D.C. and the entire country.

Responses by lawmakers generally fell along party lines, though some Republicans including Arizona senators Jeff Flake and John McCain expressed reservations and concerns about Comey's dismissal.

ABC15 spoke with two former U.S. attorneys for the District of Arizona who used to work the same job but have very different opinions about Comey's termination. 

Paul Charlton, who was put in place under President Bush, says he is extremely concerned with President Trump's decision.

"I don't think we have seen anything like this since the firing of Archibald Cox and the 'Saturday Night Massacre' under Richard Nixon," said Charlton.

Charlton actually worked with Comey for years.Comey for years.

"He's an individual with an ethic second to none," said Charlton. "He has a compass that points true North in terms of doing what's right." 

Charlton says President Trump pointing to Comey's handling of Hillary Clinton's email probe is a complete facade. 

"This firing is an excuse and an attempt to slow down the FBI's investigation of the Russian interference into our election," said Charlton. 

"If it wasn't so serious, it would almost be comical," said Mel McDonald, another former US attorney for Arizona.

McDonald says that Comey has been in a no-win situation since the election and believes lawmakers can't make up their minds.

"You have the Democrats screaming for Comey's throat, so Trump fires him and now they are screaming at Trump for terminating the director," said McDonald. 

And when it comes to claims that this has to do with hampering the FBI's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and contacts with Russians by people close to President Trump, McDonald says he doesn't buy it because the work will still be done.

"That investigation is going to go on, and merely because you replace directors I don't think will have one ounce (of impact) on what will ultimately come out," said McDonald.